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Lack of Recognition: A Blessing in Disguise?

Somaliland, a small country inundated by the politics of the Horn, is a self-declared independent state that borders Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. As a former British protectorate it revoked its union (July 1st 1960) with ex-Italian Somalia after the 1988-91 civil war and reasserted its independence on May 18 1991 (Lewis, 2002: 282). Its legal status poses an enigma as it seeks independence while the international community continue to align themselves with the orthodox position, which is in support of the territorial integrity of Somalia. Many have grappled, both Somalilanders and external actors, with what (non) recognition could mean for Somaliland. Some of the key questions that are often debated include should Somaliland be recognised and what are the reasons for this claim? Has it developed the institutions to reflect and function as a modern state, and therefore justify recognition by the international community?

Deqa Osman

Director of DK Consultancy